eat out | afternoon tea at fortnum and mason

fortnum and mason tea | mycreative Fortnum & Mason is a symbol of everything British.  The first store in Britain to stock baked beans and the provider of ‘basics’ such as tea and jam to the gentry as well as the provider of luxurious picnic baskets.  Can it get more English?

On Friday I took my Mum to Fortnums for afternoon tea for her birthday.  We arrived a little early and wondered around the “tea and jam” floor before heading up to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.  We were shortly seated at a spacious table with rather comfy chairs and made ourselves comfortable for the next two hours with the sounds of a gentleman playing on a piano.  The decor is suitably ‘tea room’ with accents of Tiffany blue (which appear to be F&M blue too) and several pictures of Audrey Hepburn hanging around.  They know their clientele (which appeared to be 95% women and a high number of elder ladies and tourists).

There is a massive selection of teas (I think around 85), Mum went for the standard breakfast and I had the black tea with peach which was delicious.  Having advised when booking that we were vegetarian we were provided with the vegetarian menu on seating and went ahead with it.  There was a good selection of sandwiches; along with the standard egg cress and cucumber there was also one with artichoke, a sort of Mediterranean sandwich with pesto and sundried tomatoes and an open cheese and chutney one.  All the breads were different which I thought was a nice touch.

We then had two scone each – plain and raisin.  We opted for the lemon curd instead of jam which was absolutely delicious and I think I might go back and just buy a tub of their lemon curd. The clotted cream was also amazingly thick (I could feel my arteries as I ate it).

The top tier of the cake-stand was full of a selection of little cakes, some twists on classics (like a bakewell tart).  There was also a cake stand with ‘cakes of the day’ although I didn’t try any of those.

fortnum and mason afternoon tea

Throughout the tea we were asked if we wanted more.  We really should have taken them up on the offer as it was a very pricey £40 a head (plus they charged 12.5% service on top of that which I do think was rather cheeky) but it was pretty filling.  This is certainly a special occasion sort of outing but for a rare visit to sit in a piece of London history I would say it is worth the expense.  Not sure I would make a return visit (what with Claridges and the Ritz on the list) but definitely happy I went.

Where is the best afternoon tea you have been?  I’d love to know where I should head next.

(bottom pictures from camera phone)

14 thoughts on “eat out | afternoon tea at fortnum and mason

  1. Glad you both had a great time:)

    Mike took me to the Connaught and Claridges for my birthday for the two years, I am such a lucky girl! Both amazing experiences, Claridges was more grand, but felt more comfortable in the Connaught (still grand, and have to get over the nerves of walking into a hotel with staff in traditional top hat and formal coats welcoming us). The Connaught staff were very attentive and made us relaxed (pretty sure they knew we were afternoon tea first timers) They asked if we wanted more, and I did just want one more sandwich, but they brought us a whole plate, very filling indeed 🙂 I would definitely go back for a special occasion. I took my mum for afternoon tea at the Lanesborough, which was really good good, good service, amazing building – we had a look around and did some celeb spotting – saw Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and their little one. Gosh I really want afternoon tea now!! yummy! x

    1. Ooh Will have to try the Connaught me things. Although have heard good things about Claridges too. Didn’t even know Penelope Cruz had a baby (clueless over here)

  2. I recently went to The Sanderson for Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. There was a lot of food and was so dreamy. They even had little “Drink Me” bottles. It was fantastic.

    1. Ooh I really want to go the Sanderson for the Mad Hatter Tea. I’m going to have to make a long list!

  3. Hey, I adore afternoon tea. For my parents wedding anniversary the whole family went and had afternoon tea at The Ritz. I can honestly it was one of the most memorable days I’ve ever had and would love to go again. The atmosphere was amazing, it felt so lovely and British and the food was scrumptious. Very quaint! However one of the most exciting parts was whilst waiting to leave after a delish afternoon of tea and cake, I wandered off and got a little lost around the hotel part, and ended up standing in an entrance of a giant hall where I bumped into a Bride who was just about to enter her reception. She looks totally stunning (as anyone would who was getting married at the Ritz!) as a lady puffed up her dress, the doors opened and hundreds of guests turned around to look at her as she walked in – and there was me standing there like a stunned rabbit! She didn’t seem to mind though because she gave me a fantastic happy smile as she walked passed. Ahh just lovely.

    1. What a great memory. Must be pretty impressive to have a wedding there. It seems like a happy place and a lot of people suggest it so might just have to go.

  4. Looks and sounds great and I do like the fact that you were given vegetarian menus on arrival. I do like their products and have some of the teas, though I have to admit that £40 a head would make me think twice. Maybe for a very special occasion. Will need to add those tea tins to my collection though! Turquoise! Lovely 😉 Have a lovely evening xo

    PS: One of the nicest afternoon teas I’ve ever had was at Ludlow castle, on their terrace in the sunshine and with Monsieur… 🙂

  5. I really shouldn’t read this kind of post or the responses at 3.30 on a Thursday when I am stuck in the office and desperate for a bit of tea and cake… Afternoon tea at F&M sounds lovely – might keep it in mind for my mum’s birthday.

    Given that my fondant fancies turned out so well, going to try and make ALL of those petit fours in the photo. Then you can take photos of them all 🙂

    PS Was really expecting a post all about jugs!

  6. I can highly recommend The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. I stumbled on a review from another blogger (Lauren @ The Aspiring Kennedy) and I had to go for myself and try it out. It did not disappoint and Selena (@ Oh, The Places We’ll Go) and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It is a little less expensive at £23 for the full tea experience. The tea was lovely, the food incredible, and the atmosphere was just perfect. Loved reading your post ~ I hope to bring my Mum to Fortnum & Mason this summer when she visits us for a real special treat.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I have actually been to the Ampersand (and stuffed the cakes in my cake hole so quickly I didn’t even take any pictures!). Was really good and much more pocket friendly than the ‘luxury’ hotels.

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